No one had ever told me about Ebisu – I just thought it would be a good place to go to visit, and I had seen a certain bar (Bar Martha) on the internet that looked pretty cool, so I thought it was worth visiting…..and I was right.
This article will highlight a few of the things I did in Ebisu, and hopefully shed light on how amazing this place really is!
How to get there?
Ebisu is just one stop away from Shibuya on the JR Yamanote line, so is really easy to get to.
I was surprised when I arrived, it seemed like a much bigger, more buzzing area than I had imagined, and it is for this reason why I cannot understand no one had ever told me about it!
You wont have to venture too far from the train station to find some really cool places. Here are the three places I would recommend you MUST go to when visiting Ebisu, and I guarantee you’ll find many other cool places when wandering along the many packed streets of Ebisu.
Places to go
First, take a walk to Ebisu Yokocho. This is about a 5 minute walk to the station. And go at night! Ebisu is quite simply a different place by day and by night. Ebisy Yokocho is basically a “food alley”, yet with an extremely retro charm and lit by lots of coloured lanterns. It boasts an eclectic mix of food and drink at a very good price, including your typical yakitori to deep fried kebabs and Japanese mushrooms. It is a great place to start your night, to have a bite to eat and to make some friends whilst sipping on an ice cold beer. I should warn you, it can get really busy, and quite rowdy, but for me, that’s a good thing and it seemed like a true taste of Tokyo. If you’re cool with small stools and sitting next to strangers this place is great fun. Oh and tonnes of cigarette smoke. This place is a must. And as I said, head around 9pm, but don’t worry if youre rushed for time, its open until 5am!
If fried octopus and beef tongue don’t take your fancy, maybe you don’t choose to eat at Ebisu Yokocho. But be sure to take a walk through just to see what it is like. My second recommendation would be to try out Afuri. The best ramen in the city. I repeat, the best ramen in the city. This restaurant faces the back exit of Ebisu Yokocho and is the original of the Afuri restauraunts, with one in Shibuya and one in Harajuku. Afuri is fun, friendly and the food is not only cheap but also delicious. As you may already know, slurping noodles in Japan is kinda a big thing, so don’t be afraid to slurp, but make sure you don’t wear a white shirt, no doubt its going to be messy!
After Afuri, take yourself to Martha Bar/Bar Martha to listen to some great music and sip on a cocktail or two. This dimly lit bar can be found just off the main road in Ebisu.
I had read about this bar on the internet and it seems it has very, very mixed reviews. Some people suggest it is the coolest bar in Tokyo, some claim it is the worst experience of their life. Different strokes for different blokes I guess – but I went to see for myself. On arrival, you are very much ushered to a table, told not to take photos and also not to shout or be too loud. The exterior, as pictured below, is seriously cool, and is even cooler inside. With dim lights and hundreds of vinyl records around the bar, I would go as far to say it is indeed the coolest interior of a bar I have seen in Tokyo. The music is also crazy, with a DJ playing some old school vinyls. The drinks are nice, but strong, and the unlimited snacks are a bonus. I was shocked however when I received the bill/cheque. It was a lot, that is all I would say. But if you’re prepared for spending a little on a drink and ending a great night in Ebisu with a night cap, why not try out Bar Martha, and decide for yourself if it is Tokyo’s coolest bar.
As I said, you’re not supposed to take photos – so I apologise for the quality of these images shown!
Ebisu is definitely a place worth visiting. It isn’t typically one of those places that people will tell you to go during your stay in Tokyo, but after you’ve read this, hopefully it is on your list of to-do’s! It’s a really cool place to hang out in the evening! Grab a drink at Bar Martha and some food at Ebisu Yokocho or Afuri – why don’t you go down and take a look for yourself?!